Sunday, January 17, 2021

A time for feasting and a time for fasting.

“Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?" (Mark 2: 19).

Monday 18th January 2021, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time. This is the week of prayer for Christian Unity (January 18 to 25th).

Our key Scripture for today is on the subject of fasting in Christian life. Jesus our Way, Truth and Life teaches by words and example that there is a time for feasting and a time for fasting. Is there a time for fasting in your Christian walk?

From the beginning of Christianity, fasting is one of the cornerstones of Christian spirituality. Others are prayer and almsgiving.  We are reminded of this especially in the holy seasons of Lent and Advent. Fridays in Ordinary Time are highly recommended as days of abstinence.

What can we fast from?
Food, meat, wine, television, news, movies.

"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (Mark 2: 18).
There is a time for feasting and a time for fasting, Jesus replied and continued: My disciples will fast at the right time. New wine must be poured into fresh wineskins. (Cf Mark 2: 22).

Oh that you will listen to the Lord today. Harden not your hearts.

Fasting helps us to develop a deeper spiritual life. But do you know the best fasting?
Embrace God's gracious and mysterious will in everything, always and everywhere. This is the secret of holiness.  You will be able to discern the will of God which is our Summum Bonum (our greatest and most perfect gift) Cf Romans 12: 2.

If you are in Christ through faith, the Holy Spirit makes you a new creation. The old wine is thrown away. You are filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit. (Cf 2 Corinthians 5: 17).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 16, 2021

I have found the Messiah.

“We have found the Messiah”... Then he [Andrew] brought Peter to Jesus." (Cf John 1: 41 - 42).

Sunday 17th January 2021, in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Andrew found Jesus because his heart's great desire was to meet the expected Messiah. If your heart's great desire is to see millions of dollars in your bank account, you may miss Jesus even if He is knocking at your door. The Bible teaches: "Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire." (Psalm 37: 4).

Our desires are very important. Watch your heart carefully to see the desires driving you. St Ignatius Loyola is a saint that understands a great deal about desires. He said "Desires make a man." There are two types of desires:
#1. Desires placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit.
#2. Carnal desires. You know where they come from.

Jesus draws us to His love and plan for us through our desires. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus after he met Jesus. Another desire fulfilled. Andrew is one of my patron saints because he is a born evangelist. He sees the Good News. He seeks out his brother right away to share it. Every day, you hear the word of God. You read the Scriptures. Ask the Lord to give you the desire to share the Gospel. The Good News is the best News in the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 15, 2021

Go to Jesus with complete boldness in times of your failures.

"So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." (Hebrews 4: 16).

Saturday 16th January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

What a great and beautiful key Scripture we have today! Read this carefully and impress it deeply in your mind. You will be happier for it.
From the Gospel of today Mark 2: 17, we know where to go when we are sick and need a physician. We know where to go when we have sinned and are depressed.

How do we go to the source of kindly and unfailing mercy? We go with complete boldness because
we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God.

Brethren, whenever we have needs: family peace, children's rebellion, health issues, money problems, your job, your car, your home, you now know where to go with fearless confidence to receive unmerited favors for our failures and needs.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins.

"The Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth." (Cf Mark 2: 10).

Friday 15th January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

How do you reckon with sin?
"She [Mary] will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary's Son will be named Jesus (Yeshua) because He will save His people [us] from sin.

In our key Scripture for today, we see Jesus' answer to the challenge of the lawyers as to His power to forgive sin. The background of the story is the crippled man lowered from the ceiling to the presence of Jesus. Jesus could have commanded the man to stand up and go home. But instead He said: “Child, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2: 5).
Why did Jesus do this? Perhaps to teach that there is a connection between Sin, Suffering and Salvation.

The doctors of the law who challenged Jesus believe that the authority to forgive sins belongs to God alone. Jesus answered them by saying: I will prove to you that as Messiah, I can forgive sins by healing this crippled man. “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”  He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone." (Mark 2: 11 - 12).

Every Sunday, we repeat in the Creed:
"I believe in the forgiveness of sins."
There is no salvation without the elimination of sin. Sin is the one cancer that blocks the benefits of salvation in our lives. When Jesus appeared to His disciples in the Upper Room after His Resurrection, He first said to them: "Peace be with you." Then He said: "Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20: 23). Thus Jesus gave us the great gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also called Confession or Penance.

If you do not use the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, it is impossible for you to taste the full salvation that Jesus Christ procures for us by His Death.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.

 "A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1: 40).

Thursday 14th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Six days ago, we read from St Luke's Gospel the story of the man "full of leprosy" and saw how Jesus was delighted to heal him. Today we have the incident from St Mark. Let us see how The Passion Translation (TPT) renders our key Scripture for today:
"On one occasion, a leper came and threw himself down in front of Jesus, pleading for his healing, saying, “You have the power to heal me right now if only you really want to!” (Mark 1: 40).

Let us make some observations from what we have learned about Jesus from the Gospels:

#1. Jesus is always ready to do good.
#2. Jesus heals everyone who comes to Him.
#3. Jesus did not heal all the lepers in Israel. He healed only those who come to Him.
#4. The Bible teaches: "The nearer you go to Jesus, the nearer He comes to you." (Cf James 4: 7-8,10).
#5. If today you hear Jesus speaking to you, harden not your heart. (Cf Psalm 95).Remember the leper heard about Jesus and believed what he heard and got up to search for Jesus.

Conclusion: Nobody who comes to Jesus is turned away. Seek out Jesus today with expectant and confident faith and He will heal you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Pray like Jesus.

"Rising very early before dawn, he [Jesus] left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed." (Mark 1: 35).

Wednesday 13th of January 2021, in the 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary Poitiers. (315 - 368). French. Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Hilary is remembered in history especially for three things:
#1. He defended the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He is 100% Man and 100% God.
#2. It is believed Hilary dealt the death blow to the Arian heresy which had plagued the Church for hundreds of years.
#3. Hilary developed an authoritative doctrine on the Holy Trinity.

Our key Scripture for today reveals something of the habit and prayer life  of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know that Jesus taught a great deal about Prayer. He called Prayer a vital necessity. Jesus taught us to pray with expectant faith, with persistence and humility. Prayer is key to the life of faith. St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church says that if you pray, you will be saved. If you do not pray, assume that you are lost.

How is your prayer life? Let us consider 3 points:
#1. Time of Prayer: For Jesus, we see that His sacred time for prayer is early in the morning. First thing in the day.
#2. Place of Prayer: Our Guide to Prayer Jesus does not pray in the marketplace, café or restaurant. Jesus goes to an isolated place where He can be alone with His Father without distraction and interruption.
#3. Prayer Intention: Jesus prays a lot for His ministry and His followers. This is His persistent sacred intention in Prayer.

We can learn something from the prayer habits of Jesus to bless our prayer life. The Bible teaches us to:
#1. Pray always.
#2. Pray everywhere.
#3. Pray about everything.

If we can do the above, our faith will grow; our mental life will be healthy. We will be able to overcome most of the trials that life hurls at us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Jesus commanded the evil spirit to leave the possessed man.

"In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1: 23 - 24).

Tuesday 12th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

What do you know about demonic attacks and spiritual warfare? Our key Scripture for today gives us the opportunity to reflect on these important realities of Christian life and experience. If you are ignorant of these facts, you may accuse yourself of spiritual malpractice against yourself. What does Scripture say about this? A couple of examples:

#1. "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6: 12).
Discernment of Spirits can help pinpoint the source and cause of your problem.

#2. "Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5: 8).

Satan, Devil, Demon, Evil Spirit has been a force of contention for mankind since the Fall of Adam and Eve.
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” They know Jesus. They know who you are.

The Church has contended with demons since Jesus said to Peter:
"He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

How do you protect yourself from demonic attacks or engage in spiritual warfare? The Church has taught a number of strategies which have been helpful to people.

#1. Prayer: Exercise your vigilance through constant prayer. Watch and pray that you do not enter into spiritual combat.
#2. Scripture: When Jesus was in the desert facing off the Devil in spiritual warfare, He used Scripture three times to defeat Satan thrice. Ignorance of the word of God is one of the greatest problems of Christians.
#3. Use the Sacraments frequently especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These Sacraments are the heavy weapons in our spiritual arsenal.
"The weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).
#4. Do not neglect Sacramentals. Example: holy water, crucifix, bible,  chaplet/Rosary, holy pictures, Name of Jesus. If an enemy enters your house and sees these weapons of spiritual combat, the evil spirit may do a tactical withdrawal without engaging in combat.

If you are faithful to the above battle tested strategies from the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of the Church, you may never avoid spiritual warfare but you will win most battles and prove to yourself that these means are effective.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 10, 2021

This is your fullness of time.

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1: 15).

Monday 11th January 2021, in the 1st Week of Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture this first day of Ordinary Time speaks to me deeply. Why? I love the phrase "Fullness of time."  In God's loving Providence, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1). In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).  Jesus says to us in today's message:  This is your Kairos moment, the fullness of time for you to hear and act on this word. God is saying the time is up. So listen carefully. I like the way the TPT translation puts it below.

“At last the fulfillment of the age has come! It is time for the realm of God’s kingdom to be experienced in its fullness! Turn your lives back to God and put your trust in the hope-filled gospel!” (Mark 1: 15 TPT).

After Jesus had made this critical proclamation, he called those who will help Him in proclaiming the Good News. To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, He said:  “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1: 17). Jesus recruited James and his brother John with the same promise. We see from this that the proclamation of the imminence and urgency of the kingdom of God is the primary duty of all Gospel workers.

"But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?  And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10: 14-15).

How beautiful are the feet of those who respond to the invitation of Jesus to be fishers of men. Do not be anxious for a moment about your qualification. Jesus qualifies everyone He calls as He qualified Peter.

"Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit." (Acts 2: 38).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 09, 2021

The One who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit.

"I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.” (Mark 1: 8).

Sunday 10th January 2021 is the great feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

John the Baptizer bore witness to Jesus as the expected Messiah who will baptize us with the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1: 8). Who is the Holy Spirit and why is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit the ultimate Christian experience?

This Sunday Liturgy is full of Holy Spirit themes. Here are a few:

#1. "All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, buy grain and eat;
Come, buy grain without money,
wine and milk without cost!" (Isaiah 55: 1).
This is invitation to grace and mercy. Of all God's gifts, the Holy Spirit is the Big Gift. The Free Gift.

#2. "With joy you will draw water from the fountains of salvation." (Isaiah 12: 3).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of joy and consolations. We are promised in the Responsorial Psalm from Isaiah 12 that a rich experience of joy and consolations await us when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.

#3. "The Spirit is the one that testifies, and the Spirit is truth." (1 John 5: 6).
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who leads us to all the truth about the person and work of Jesus the Christ.

The Baptism of Jesus launches His mission. Our Baptism with the Holy Spirit should similarly launch our mission. This is because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Mission and specifically the Spirit of Evangelization. The Church exists for only one purpose: to evangelize. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to accomplish this mission.

Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit? Yes. At your Baptism. And the grace of the Holy Spirit you received at Baptism was strengthened or confirmed in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

What if you say: I have been baptized and confirmed but I don't experience the joy and consolations of the Holy Spirit. Why? There could be two principal reasons:
#1. Activate the Holy Spirit in you. Like a new credit card, you need to activate it before you can start to use it and enjoy it. How do you activate the Holy Spirit? The way I did was to make a 9 - Day Novena. There are many sites with Holy Spirit Novena templates.

#2. The second reason why you may not experience the promised joy, peace and comforts of the Holy Spirit is SIN. Get rid of the sin in your life and peace, joy and consolations will flow into your life.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 08, 2021

Jesus must increase. I must decrease.

"He [Jesus] must increase; I must decrease." (John 3: 30).

Saturday 9th January 2021, last day in the Season of Christmas.

In the fullness of time, Jesus left Nazareth and after part-hiking and part walking, He got to the River Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist. Later John was asked about Jesus:  “Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.” (John 3: 20). Then John added this thought provoking words:
"He must increase; I must decrease."  John is saying: Jesus is the Messiah. I am only the messenger. No hint of jealousy from John. Compare this attitude to what we know of clerical jealousy in the Church. John knew that the Bridegroom is the star and therefore deserves the place of honor.

Where must Jesus increase in your life? Where must you decrease? Do you struggle with pride and envy? We have a perfect answer in the first Reading:
"We have this confidence in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours." (1 John 5: 14 - 15).

Through prayers, I have gotten every good thing in my life. This is why I affirm:
+ I believe in Prayer.
+ I believe in the word of God.
+ I believe in Miracle.
+ I surrender everything to God's time and ways.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 07, 2021

If you wish, you can make me clean.

"When he [the leper] saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately." (Luke 5: 12 - 13)

Friday 8th January 2021, in the Season of Christmas.

In our Gospel Reading today, we learn of a man "full of leprosy", a disease as dreaded in the days of Jesus as cancer is today. But there is one important difference. Cancer does not carry any social stigma as leprosy. The leper was driven out of the society, forbidden to mix with people and not allowed to take part in synagogue worship. Life was hell on earth for the leper. The leper in today's Gospel by an act of Providence heard about Jesus and His miracles. He tracked Jesus down. Consider how he won the heart of Jesus:

#1. He prostrated himself. Posture of prayer.
#2. He said to Jesus: "If you wish.." This could mean: I want to be healed badly but I respect your sovereignty.
#3. "You can make me clean." I know all things are possible for God.

"Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do will it. Be made clean.” And the leprosy left him immediately."

Note the action of Jesus. He touched the leper, followed by these comforting words: “I do will it. Be made clean.”

What can we learn from this? Whatever problem you may have, whether it is equivalent of being "full of leprosy," approach Jesus with confidence and expectant faith. Jesus will help you. The healing of the leper is a testimony, an example to encourage us to have full faith in Jesus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

The Feast of St Raymond Penăfort.

"Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region." (Luke 4: 14).

Thursday 7th January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St Raymond Penăfort (1175 - 1275). Spanish Dominican Priest. Very erudite and advanced the knowledge of Canon Law. He died at the age of 100.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit our key Scripture informs us. We can draw two insights from this statement:
#1. After His Baptism, Jesus was immersed in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit became a permanent resident in Jesus. The people noticed the change in the Man.
#2. Power is the dominant attribute of the Holy Spirit. It is through the power of the Spirit that Jesus teaches, evangelizes, performs all types of Miracles. The Holy Spirit is first and foremost the Spirit of power.

Why does this matter to us? As disciples of Jesus, we too have received the big Gift, the Promise of the Father: the Spirit of truth and power. We too can teach, evangelize and perform miracles in the power of the Spirit. What is then lacking in us? Faith! We learn from our first Reading today: "The victory that conquers the world is our faith." Faith is a mighty power. The Holy Spirit is activated by faith, dwells and works in the environment of faith.
Remember He, the Holy Spirit is the Gift of the Father. He is in you through faith and not through your hard and filthy works.

How then do you receive the greatest Gift. Ask for Him in faith and believe that you have received Him as promised and start giving thanks and praises. As you exercise your faith in loving God and your neighbor, you prove from your experience that He is in you and working through you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

The Feast of the Miracle Worker, St André Bessette.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.(1 John 4: 18).

Wednesday 6th January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St André Bessette, popularly known as Brother André. (1845 - 1937). Canadian. Religious Brother of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Miracle worker when alive. More miracles now from Heaven. What is the contribution of Brother André to the building up of the mystical Body of Christ?
#1. Great devotion to St Joseph, the holy Spouse of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
#2. Special commitment to the afflicted and the poor.

Pope Francis declared December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 a special Year of St Joseph. I discovered the power of St Joseph as a powerful intercessor from the life of St Teresa of Avila.

What does it mean that "perfect love drives out fear?" God is love. His love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. If you know this truth and believe it, this truth will make you free. Free from foolish fears, worries and doubts. Example:

Jesus tells His disciples in our Gospel Reading:  “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” (Mark 6: 50).
Why were the disciples so terrified when they saw Jesus walking on water? Their knowledge of Jesus was still so imperfect. Look at this true formula:
NO KNOWLEDGE, NO LOVE.
NO LOVE, NO SERVICE.

As your knowledge of Jesus increases, your love for Jesus will increase. As your love for Jesus increases, your fears, worries and doubts will begin to decrease. Love and fear cannot exist in the same compartment. St Jerome teaches:
"Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ." Ignorance of Scripture is at root of most of our problems.
Want to know Jesus? Immerse yourself in the Scriptures and ask Jesus constantly to reveal Himself to you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 04, 2021

The Feast of St John Neumann.

"Everyone who has given up home,
brothers, or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19: 29 Communion Antiphon).

Tuesday 5th January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of a great missionary priest, Bishop, Church planter, pioneer in the Catholic Schools system in USA. His name is St John Neumann (1811 - 1860). Born in Bohemia. Became Bishop of Philadelphia. Became a Redemptorist priest. Worn out by his labors, John died at the age of 49.

Did you notice the extraordinary promise in our key Scripture for today?
"Everyone who has given up home,
brothers, or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life."

The Church is great because the Church has legions of women and men who have given up home,
brothers, or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property to serve Jesus and to be salt of the earth and the light of the nations. This was true at the beginning of the Church. It remains true today.
Although these missionaries are enjoying their promised reward here in form of the peace of Christ and certainty of everlasting life, they rejoice every day because of their beautiful allotted portion and their inheritance: to serve the King.

Do you perhaps wonder how you can participate in the missionary work of the Church? Consider these ways:
#1. Pray for the success of the missions. St Therese of the Child Jesus (the Little Flower) is the patron saint of missionaries. She never left her convent for one day. She gained this status by her prayers and sacrifices.
#2. Missionaries do many things from education to health care, etc. Contribute financially to mission work.
#3. Offering up your trials and disappointments are great way of contributing to mission work.

The Lord Jesus is inviting us to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives. (Cf Luke 4: 17). What is your response?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 03, 2021

The Feast of the Educator, St Elizabeth Ann Seton.

"Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us." (1 John 3: 22 - 23).

Monday 4th January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of St Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774 - 1821). American. Wife, mother, religious, educator and founder of the Sisters of Charity. Elizabeth founded the first Catholic School in America for girls. She is the first native born American to be canonized saint. St Elizabeth Ann Seton is the patron saint of educators and widows.

Our key Scripture for today reinforces my deep trust in Prayer.
I believe in Prayer.
I believe in the word of God.
I believe in Miracle.
I leave the rest to God.

God promises us:
"We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him."

My God, I desire to receive from You all the good things in life You have for me. If the price is doing what pleases You and keeping Your commandments, I am for it. Give me Your grace and mercy for I cannot live without them.

In the Gospel for today, Jesus in His very first preaching urges us: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4: 17).
Lord Jesus, I believe in Your promise on prayer. Give Your brothers and sisters the grace of repentance and constancy in Your service. Amen.

St Elizabeth Ann Seton lived the evangelical virtues of chastity, obedience and poverty until her death at the age of 46.
St Elizabeth Ann Seton pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 02, 2021

The big Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is today.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2: 2).

Sunday 3rd January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the great Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Have you seen the star or are you still searching and asking: "Where is the newborn king of the Jews?"

Brothers and sisters, this is really a beautiful feast that offers us great insight into the mystery of salvation. Our salvation, redemption, assumption into Christ depends on one thing, only one thing: FAITH! Examples:

#1 The Magi, wealthy lords from the East entered the room where Christ lay with His simply clad mother and father in a sparsely furnished room . They saw and Believed that this is He.
#2 Simeon and Anna entered the Temple during the Presentation of Jesus to His heavenly Father. They saw a simple couple with two small pigeons, the offering of the poor. They saw and they Believed that this is He.
#3 At the crucifixion, Jesus battered body was hanging between two thieves. One of the thieves turned his head slightly and looked at Jesus. He saw and Believed that this is He, the Savior of the world.

In all three examples, our stars walked by faith and not by sight or feeling. 

In the feast of the Epiphany, we celebrate the fullness of time when God revealed His only Begotten Son to the nations through the Magi by the guidance of a star.

All nations become coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Cf Ephesians 3: 6).

When you became a member of the Body of Christ through Baptism, you were asked: What do you seek from the Church of the living God? We know that the first thing we seek is Faith. Faith opens the door to every good thing in the world.

I believe in God the Father.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His Only Begotten Son.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I believe in life everlasting.
Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 01, 2021

The Feast of two great friends and saints: Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen.

"Remain in Him."  (1 John 2 : 27 & 28)

Saturday 2nd January 2021, in the Season of Christmas is the feast of two great friends, saints, Bishops and Doctors of the Church: Saints Basil the Great (329 to 379)and Gregory Nazianzen (329 to 389).  Both men, great friends in this world "proclaimed Christ crucified; Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God." (Cf 1 Corinthians 1: 23 - 24).

One of the words the Spirit gives the Churches today is: Remain. (1 John 2 : 22 - 28)  Several places in the first Reading, the Spirit urges us to "remain in Him."   (1 John 2 : 27,28)
What does remain in something or somebody mean? A few examples from the dictionary.
#1. Stay in the place that one has been occupying.
#2. Continue to possess a particular quality or fulfill a particular role. Eg: Constancy and fidelity.
#3. I'll treat you well, as long as you remain loyal.
#4. Abide in something or dwell in something.

The Spirit instructs us to remain in Jesus.

How do we remain in Jesus?
#1.  We remain in Jesus when we remain or abide in His word every day.  Jesus is in His word.
#2.  We remain in Jesus when we converse with Him in prayer.  When we pray, we talk to Jesus.  When we read the Word or a spiritual book, Jesus talks to us.
#3.  We remain in Jesus when we encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is the source, center and summit of the Christian life.
#4.  We remain in Jesus when we are aware of His promised presence in us as Emmanuel, the God who is always with us.

"And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming."  (1 John 2: 28)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus - First Friday 2021.

January 1, 2021, Solemnity of Mary Mother of God is also -  First Friday in January, 2021.

In the 1st  month of the year 2021, we look at Promise #1.

#1.  "I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life."
 
What is your state of life?
A.  Married
B.  Single
C.  Divorced
D.   Adolescent

Jesus promises us here:  sufficient grace to cope with whatever happens.  We know that anything can happen anytime.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus every First Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

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The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God: Happy 2021!

"When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb." (Luke 2: 21).

Friday 1st of January 2021, in the 8th Day of the Octave of Christmas is the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God. As we celebrate the New Year, the beginning of the secular calendar, Mother Church celebrates the feast of St Mary as the Mother of God.

In our key Scripture for this Solemnity, we reflect on the important occasion of the naming of Jesus. On the eighth day of His circumcision, the Infant Child of Mary was named Jesus. In the Hebrew world, naming a child is a big deal. The name of the child is even a bigger deal. The child of Elizabeth and Zachary was named John in a ceremony surrounded by relatives, friends and neighbors and they named the little boy John, a name which means "God is gracious."

Mary and Joseph named their little Son, Jesus. A name that was bestowed by the Angel Gabriel at His conception. Jesus means "God saves." The name indicates who Jesus is and what Jesus will do as a person. He will be always our God who saves us from sin.

In her great joy at the conclusion of the Council of Ephesus in 431, by a universal acclaim by the people, Mary was bestowed the title Theotokos, a name which means "God Bearer."
This confirms the prophetic utterance of Elizabeth:
"Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1: 41 - 43).

Hail, Holy Mother! Happy Feast Day! You gave birth to the King, who rules heaven and earth for ever.  (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

This may be the Last Hour.

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour." (1 John 2: 18).

Thursday 31st December 2020, 7th Day in the Octave of Christmas is also the feast of St Sylvester 1. (+ 335). Roman. Elected Pope in 314 and died about 335. Sylvester served the Church at a very turbulent transition in Church history. Arian heresy and the Donatist schism threatened to destroy the Church. Then Constantine appeared and offered peace. After this, Pope Sylvester contributed a great deal in the expansion of the faith in the Roman Empire.

This is the last hour warned the Apostle John and he went further:
The "Antichrists have appeared." Have you seen any? These are some of the characteristics from the Christian Scriptures of the Man of lawlessness:

Deceit
Temporary success
Mass seduction
Adversary
Son of perdition
Opposed Christ.
(Cf 2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12; Matthew 24: 23 - 26).

Before he became Pontiff, Pope St John Paul II warned in 1976 at the Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia that we are now facing the final confrontation between the Antichrist and the Church. Remember how King Henry VIII caught over 300 English Bishops napping in 1535? Only Bishop St John Fisher earned the crown of Martyrdom. Below is a prophetic teaching of the Church on the Antichrist from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."   (CCC 675).

Do not be asleep. Be vigilant and pray at all times so that you may not fall into severe temptation. Do not become an Anti-Witness. This is the Last Hour.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Anna, Prophetess and Evangelist.

"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer." (Luke 2: 36 - 37).

Wednesday 30th December 2020, 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas.

Anna, the Prophetess dominates the Gospel Reading as if today is her patronal feast day. Who is Anna and why is she one of the humble and powerful evangelists in the Gospel?

#1 Anna had lived in the Temple for decades and gave herself completely to worshiping God, praying and fasting.
#2 Apart from Mary, Joseph and Simeon, Anna was one of the very first Christian who saw Jesus as an Infant, recognized Him and carried Him in her arms! Wonderful? Oh Yes!
#3 Anna is one of the very first Evangelist to announce the Good News. Listen to the testimony of the Scriptures:
"And coming forward at that very time, she [Anna] gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." (Luke 2: 38).

What can we say about the character of Anna? The answer is from the first Reading: 1 John 2: 15 - 17).

"Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." (1 John 2: 15 - 17).

Anna retired to the Temple after she lost her husband as a young maiden. She chose not to remarry or hang around and enjoy her husband's wealth.

We have a lot to learn from Anna. St Anna, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 28, 2020

Simeon the Prophet saw with his own eyes the Infant Jesus promised centuries ago.

"There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord." (Luke 2: 25 - 27).

Tuesday 29th December 2020, 5th Day in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of St Thomas Beckett. (1118 - 1170). English. Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr.

Our key Scripture introduces us to a man whose name is Simeon. Who is this holy old man? According to the testimony of holy Scripture, Simeon was:
#1 A righteous and devout man. (Reminds us of Joseph, Stephen, Barnabas).
#2 Simeon was one of the faithful who were actively awaiting the coming of the Messiah Jesus foretold over 700 years ago. With the appearance of John the Baptist, this expectation was now at fever pitch.
#3 Simeon was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit promised Simeon that he would not die until he sees Jesus with his eyes.

Simeon is immensely important in salvation history. This is why:
He was inspired to present himself in the Temple the very day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus for His presentation to the Lord, His Father. Here is what Simeon said, words that are used by the Church in prayer every night:

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).

Simeon gave an eloquent testimony to the faithfulness of God. God made a promise over 700 years ago. He had not forgotten it. In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise to the letter and here is the Prophet Simeon to bear witness to the truth.

Whenever I read this Scripture, I am reminded of the radical faithfulness of God. Our God is a Promise Maker and a Promise Keeper.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

"The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” (Matthew 2: 13).

Monday 28th December 2020, in the Octave of Christmas is the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Why this feast and why does it matter?

#1 The Church celebrates the memory of about 20 babies whom King Herod slaughtered in his attempt to kill Jesus. These children are martyrs who gave their lives for Christ and are members of the Communion of the Saints.
#2 The massacre of the Holy Innocents teaches us the mystery of God's in-penetrable sovereignty and providence.

God could have eliminated the tyrant Herod, but instead He willed His Son and family to go into exile in Egypt in a cold winter.
Other instances of God's mysterious providence:
#1 God allowed Adolf Hitler to rule for 12 years and caused the suffering and death of millions.
#2 God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and Pharaoh's stubbornness caused the death of many Egyptians.
#3 Other tyrants that were given long ropes are: Nero, Stalin, etc.

Long-suffering is part of God’s divine attributes. Some people have taken this for God's weakness. It is not because Scripture says:  "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." (1 Corinthians 1: 25).

The Church honors the Holy Innocents because they "were slaughtered as infants for Christ; spotless, they follow the Lamb and sing for ever: Glory to you, O Lord." (Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Solemnity of the Celebration of the Holy Family.

"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." (Colossians 3: 15, 16).

Sunday 27th December 2020, Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Brothers and sisters, why does Holy Mother Church set the last Sunday of the year to celebrate the great feast of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph? A few reasons come to mind.

#1. Jesus did not drop from Heaven to earth. He was born into a human family.
#2. The home of Nazareth is the school to learn and understand the life of Jesus.
#3. Our teacher is Mary, the Matriarch of the Holy Family. Mary teaches us three lessons about family life: Silence, Prayer and Work.
#4. The family may be your pathway to holiness: its joys and sorrows are all providentially ordained. Dare not to reject any of it.

In our key Scripture for today from the Gospel Acclamation, I share with you a Rhema word received on Holy Family Sunday over 20 years ago and remembered every Holy Family Feast:
"Let the peace of Christ control your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly." (Colossians 3: 15, 16).

Receive this word as a special gift today as you make your way through the last moments of 2020. If the peace of Christ is in your heart and controls your health, job, money, family, food and if the word of Christ dwells in you richly, you will always have a great day, week, month and a grand 2021.
Go for Shalom brothers and sisters:
Peace and Word of God to you always!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, December 25, 2020

Day After Christmas, Feast of the First Martyr, St Stephen.

"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen...... came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke." (Acts 6: 8 - 10).

Saturday 26th December 2020, Solemnity of the Octave of Christmas, the Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.

How soon after His Ascension was Christ's prediction vindicated when He said in the course of instructing His disciples:  "But beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.  When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say." (Matthew 10: 17 - 19).

We observe the power and faithfulness of Jesus in the trial and death of Stephen. What Jesus did for Stephen during his trial and execution, He has done for every single one of His martyrs. He has stood by their sides and sustained them to the last.
Do not be afraid. Jesus will do the same for us should the occasion arise.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7: 58).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Today is Christmas! The Solemnity of the Nativity of our Savior Jesus the Christ.

"For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 11 - 12).

Our key Scripture for this Christmas Day proclaims how God's terrible and mysterious works comes to us. They come through SIGNS. God is a spirit and invisible. We humans are flesh and blood and material. This is why the Word of God became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary. So that we can see Him and touch Him.

What sign did God choose to give the simple shepherds by which to recognize the new born King of the Universe? An embarrassingly simple sign. Not a baby in shiny Women's Hospital in Jerusalem. Not a baby on the Queen's bed in the royal palace. But a child "in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

This sign you may say is true to the character of God as we discover  in Holy Scriptures. Take for example, the signs that Jesus left the Church. The Church calls these signs Sacrament (sacramentum), meaning mysteries. A few examples:

#1 "Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.”  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you." (Luke 22: 19 - 20).

#2 Baptism is another Sacrament, a Sign, a Mysterium.

#3 The union of man and woman in holy matrimony is another Sign or Mysterium.

So has God in His mysterious will decided to communicate with human beings.
We welcome Jesus this Christmas in His utter simplicity and humanity.

The best joys of Christmas are the simple joys of the shepherds of Bethlehem. Enjoy the truth that we can touch God.
Merry Christmas 🎄🎂.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020. A Wonderful and Merry Christmas!

"Behold, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son into the world." (Cf Galatians 4: 4 Entrance Antiphon).

Thursday 24th December 2020, 4th Week of Advent. Christmas Eve!

Here is the promise God made to David 100s of years before the birth of Christ the Lord. Our key Scripture proclaims that Jesus is the answer to the promise to David. But the promise was fulfilled in the fullness of time after several hundred years. This confirms the Scripture that no promise or plan of God is fulfilled until the fullness of time. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 1). But when that fullness of time comes, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11). And God acts with speed.

Look Brothers and sisters, this is Christmas Eve! God is faithful to all His promises. No matter how long it takes, God will fulfill everyone of His promises. The oak tree needs deeper roots than the sunflower.

"Morning star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice, come and enlighten those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death." (Gospel Acclamation). 

A Wonderful and Merry Christmas to you all!   

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Feast of St John Kanty.

“No. He will be called John.”. ....“John is his name,” (Luke 1: 60, 63).

Wednesday 23rd December 2020, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St John Kanty. (1390 - 1473). Polish. Kanty is priest, professor, philosopher, physicist and theologian. What is striking about the life of St John Kanty is that this brilliant and highly educated man spent his entire priestly vocation in the ivory tower. Yet, he had the heart of a pastor of flocks. He seized every opportunity to help his needy students and the poor he encounters.

Our key Scripture for today are the words of the parents of John the Baptist affirming almost with vehemence that the name of their son is John and not something else. So be it! But what is in a name?

In ancient Hebrew theology, a name denotes and contains a person, a presence and a power.
No one assigns names to offsprings lightly. The name John means God is gracious. In this child, God promises to be gracious to the world through the birth of a holy Prophet who would herald the birth of His Son Jesus.

As we near the Solemnity of Christmas, we thank God for the life and work of St John the Baptist. We remember too St John Kanty our saint of the day who continue to inspire us by his teaching and exemplary life.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 21, 2020

I dedicate this boy to serve You my God.

"Then Hannah spoke up: “Excuse me, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here near you, praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request.  Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” Then they worshiped there before the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:  26 - 28).

Tuesday 22nd December 2020, 4th Week of Advent.

How do I choose the key Scripture for our meditation? I read the passage for a number of times. I settle on the passage that contains a promise I desire or an action that I want to emulate. Or an event that is close to my experience. God uses the passage to nourish my faith.

This Tuesday, our key Scripture is the extraordinary generosity of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. We know the story. Hannah was barren. She pleaded with God for a son. At last, the Lord heard Hannah and granted her little Samuel. When Samuel was 3 years old, Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple of the Lord and dedicated him to the Lord. She went home empty handed.

Where have we noticed such extravagant generosity to God?
#1 The Widow's Mite. (Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4).
#2 The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:25–35).

What are the lessons for us from Hannah's gesture to God?

#1 You can never out do God in generosity.
#2 Do not be afraid to dedicate all your time, talent and treasure to God.

God raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap He lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage. (Cf 1 Samuel 2: 8).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 20, 2020

The Feast of St Peter Canisius of the Society of Jesus.

"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (Luke 1: 45).

Monday 21st December 2020, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St Peter Canisius of the Society of Jesus (1521 - 1597). Dutch. Priest and Doctor of the Church. Peter Canisius appeared in the European scene at a time when the 1550 year old Catholic Faith was battered from the outside by the so called Protestant Reformation and from inside the Church by teachers who watered down the doctrine of the Church in order to accommodate the world and protestants. Also from inside the Church were clergy who took vows of chastity but refused to live them.

Peter Canisius, a keen student of the Holy Bible took the word of God seriously. If Mary is blessed by believing God's promises to her, why not Peter Canisius?
"Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Peter Canisius worked patiently as an author, preacher, catechist, teacher and succeeded in strengthening the Catholic faith in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and parts of Central Europe.

Never compromise the pure and authentic doctrine of the Church with the diluted renditions we find in the marketplace of religion today.

Persevere to the end. The Lord is coming soon.
"The Lord and Ruler will be coming soon, and his name will be called Emmanuel, because he will be called God-with-us." (Cf Isaiah 7: 14; 8: 10).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Mary teaches us how to respond to God's promises.

"I am the handmaid of the Lord:
let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

Sunday 20th December 2020, 4th Sunday of Advent.

In our key Scripture for today, we find an apt response to every good promise of God to us in Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a record of God's dealings and interactions with human beings across centuries and geographies. They contain also the word of God to these men and women and their responses to God.

This Sunday, we read of how God sent the Angel Gabriel to a young woman with an astonishing promise. Gabriel told Mary that through the power of God, she will become the Mother of God. Once Mary fully understands the implications of the message, she replies:  "I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

When we read the Bible, we encounter promises that we like. How do we react to these promises? Pause. Read it again. Underline it. And then tell God that you like the promise and want it for yourself. "I am the servant of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me."
God is faithful and will always honor His word.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com


Friday, December 18, 2020

Do not be afraid. Your prayers have been heard.

"But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John.  And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord." (Luke 1: 13 - 15).

Saturday 19th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent.

God intervened miraculously to heal the wife of Manoah, Samson's mother of advanced barrenness. First Reading. God did the same wonders for Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zechariah. Both women conceived and gave birth to miracle kids who played significant role in salvation history.

What God does once, He can replicate. These miracle stories are not just historical narratives. They are personal word of God to us. We find our place in the narrative, insert our situations and emulate the faith that is demonstrated. When we do this, we receive our miracle and everyone glorifies God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Who is the just man Joseph?

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her." (Matthew 1: 20).

Friday 18th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent.

In the Christmas crib, we notice the Woman, Mary and then the Infant Jesus lying in the feeding trough of of lambs. Who is the man standing still and upright gazing at the Baby quietly? Our key Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew identifies him as: "Joseph, son of David."

Here is what we know about Joseph:
#1. Joseph is from the royal line of David.
#2. A carpenter by trade and a man of humble means.
#3. He is a just and honest man.
#4. Because it was not good for a woman with child to be alone, God chose Joseph to provide for Mary and Jesus, to protect them and to be foster father to Jesus and raise Him up in virtue and manly manners.

Joseph excelled in all the roles that Divine Providence entrusted to him.

Joseph is the patron saint of the Church and a powerful intercessor for the Church and us all. He is also the patron saint of a happy death. Do you know that we are in the Year of St Joseph? The Holy Father proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. To read the Apostolic Letter and see how to receive all the blessings and indulgences, click the link below:

http://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The lessons of the Genealogy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham........Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah."  (Matthew 1: 1 - 2 & 15 - 16).

Thursday 17th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent. From 17th December, we enter a different and fast rhythm in our Advent Journey. There is still time for a good housekeeping for example: Confession and Novena.

Do you consider the Genealogy boring? Not when you understand the purpose for its inclusion in Sacred Scriptures. The Holy Spirit, the Author of the Sacred Text does not waste words as human authors do. Here are a few reasons for the Genealogy or Family History of Jesus Christ:

#1 Jesus Christ is truly God and truly Man. He descended from the lines of Abraham and David.
#2 His human family is not perfect (like His Church). It contains saints and sinners. He was not ashamed of His family nor was He ever tempted to deny them.
#3 His family lineage was planned by God from the foundation of the ages. So do not be scandalized by what you see.
#4 By the time Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, gone were the days of the great patriarchs like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and great kings like David and Solomon. What we have are common folks like Joseph and Mary. God has a plan that will lead us to the humble stable in Bethlehem where Jesus will be born, the King of the Jews.

"Wisdom of the Most High,
ordering all things with strength and gentleness,
come and teach us the way of truth." (Gospel Acclamation). 

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Monday, December 14, 2020

12 - 15 Tax Collectors and prostitutes responded to the call of repentance.

“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you." (Matthew 21: 31).

Tuesday 15th of December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent. We are exactly ten days to Christmas. The grace laden season of Advent will soon slip out of our control.

What is possibly the best and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family in the next few days? Call your parish and schedule a time for Reconciliation for you and members of your family.

Jesus said to the proud and the self righteousness:
"When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." (Matthew 21: 31 - 32).

Advent is a time of grace and mercy. Do not harden your heart. The Lord hears the cry of the poor. He is waiting for you with open arms. Rush to Him.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Feast of the Carmelite Mystic - St John of the Cross.

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord." (Cf Matthew 16: 24 - Communion Antiphon).

Monday 14th December 2020, 3rd Week of Advent is the feast of St John of the Cross. (1542 - 1591). Spanish Carmelite. Priest and Doctor of the Church. Called Doctor of Mystical theology because of the depth of his understanding and writings on mysticism. Author of the classic: "The Dark Night of a Soul."

St John of the Cross read our key Scripture for today as if it was addressed to him personally by Jesus. He took up his cross by embracing severe bodily mortifications. He endured terrible persecutions from his confreres in his religious community. They imprisoned him for nine months, flogged him publicly and imposed other forms of maltreatment.

You may be scared if you think that if you respond to Jesus to pick up your cross and follow Jesus, you may experience the same thing as John of the Cross. Not necessarily. Just like your DNA is unique to you, so is God's plan for your salvation. You are unique and irrepeatable. God has designed your own cross which will fit on you aptly. With the help of the grace God promises to provide, you will find your burden light and your yoke even sweet.

What do you like to boast about? Family, health and looks, bank account, job and status, houses, cars and boats? If you consider yourself the sheep of Christ and who hears His voice, you may hear like our Carmelite:
"May I never boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6: 14).

O that today you will listen to His voice, harden not your hearts.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Rejoice always and the miracle of knowing and doing God's will.

"Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5: 16 - 18).

Sunday 13th December 2020, 3rd Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday. It means simply rejoice Sunday or Sunday of rejoicing.

Why be joyful this 3rd Sunday of Advent? The answer is in the Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near." (Philippians 4: 4 - 5).

If you are one of those searching to know the will of God, we have plenty of answers this Gaudete Sunday. The Will of God is our peace and health and prosperity.  With regard to His Will, God says:
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12: 2).

God's Will is what is good and pleasing and perfect. How do you enjoy the very best that God can offer you in life? By doing His Will especially in the 5 steps below:

#1 Rejoice always.
#2 Pray always.
#3 Give thanks always and for everything.
#4 Do not conform yourself to the standards of the world.
#5 Read the word of God every day so that the word of God will renew your mind and transform it.

Commit yourself to these simple steps and your joy, peace and prosperity will overflow.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

"And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Saturday 12th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Church honors the Mother of the Redeemer with the title of Lady, Mother, Queen, Virgin, etc. Different titles to honor and show our love and devotion to the Holy Mother of God. Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the preeminent titles of Mary because of the significance of the event in Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531 and its continued relevance to the faith of Christians in the Americas because Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the the Americas not just Mexico. The Blessed Virgin Mary's apparition to St Juan Diego on December 12, 1531 set off a series of events, conversions, miracles and the building of a great Church which has since become a Basilica. It is estimated that annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Guadalupe is about 10 million.

In our key Scripture for today, the Archangel Gabriel gave Mary a testimony of God's marvelous miracle for Elizabeth in order to confirm Mary's faith. I love to hear stories of miracles. They build my faith. You too should cherish miracle stories. Better still, don't hide the wonderful things God is doing for you. Expect a miracle every day and share the story.

Mary said to Gabriel after she heard of Elizabeth big miracle, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 36 - 38).

If you like to learn more about the Blessed Virgin Mary through her Litany, click the link below:

http://seekfirst.blogspot.com/2020/12/litany-of-blessed-virgin-mary.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Litany of Loreto

V. Lord, have mercy.

R. Christ have mercy.

V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.

R. Christ graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us. 

Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 

Holy Virgin of Virgins, 

Mother of Christ, 

Mother of the Church

*MOTHER of Mercy*

Mother of divine grace,

*MOTHER of Hope*

Mother most pure,

Mother most chaste,

Mother inviolate,

Mother undefiled,

Mother most amiable,

Mother most admirable,

Mother of good Counsel,

Mother of our Creator,

Mother of our Savior,

Virgin most prudent,

Virgin most venerable,

Virgin most renowned,

Virgin most powerful,

Virgin most merciful,

Virgin most faithful,

Mirror of justice,

Seat of wisdom,

Cause of our joy,

Spiritual vessel,

Vessel of honor,

Singular vessel of devotion,

Mystical rose,

Tower of David,

Tower of ivory,

House of gold,

Ark of the covenant,

Gate of heaven,

Morning star,

Health of the sick,

Refuge of sinners,

*COMFORT of Migrants*

Comforter of the afflicted,

Help of Christians,

Queen of Angels,

Queen of Patriarchs,

Queen of Prophets,

Queen of Apostles,

Queen of Martyrs,

Queen of Confessors,

Queen of Virgins,

Queen of all Saints,

Queen conceived without original sin,

Queen assumed into heaven,

Queen of the most holy Rosary,

Queen of families,

Queen of peace,

-----

Queen of the Americas, 

Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Our Lady Undoer of knots. 

SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Can you please everybody in the world?

"Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’"

Friday 11th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Damascus 1 (305 - 384). Pope. Born in Rome but of Spanish descent. Damascus presided over the See of Peter when the Church was rocked by many heresies. Arian heresy had not yet been crushed. He defended the Church against schismatics, against those who opposed the veneration of idols and so on. Damasus is the Pope who commissioned St Jerome to translate the Bible into common Latin. This translation called the Vulgate made the Latin language the official language of the Church.

When Jesus compares us to little children in the marketplace who refuse to play the game according to rules, what is He saying? If you want to be an adult Christian, you must learn one truth and abide by it. Nobody can please the world. The world has no gold standard. It has rather arbitrary rules strung together to satisfy their selfish whims. Jesus was not theoretical. He gave examples:

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.” (Matthew 11: 18 - 19).

Pope St Damasus refused to humor heretics and schismatics who refused to abide with the gold standard laid down by Jesus as the Canon of Truth in the Church. Preserving the integrity of Sacred Doctrine still remains one of the most important task of the Sacred Magisterium.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

How to seize the kingdom of God by force.

"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force." (Matthew 11: 12).

Thursday 10th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent.

In the Gospel for today (Matthew 11: 11 - 15), Jesus praised His cousin John as the greatest prophet. No surprise when you line up all the prophets along with their profiles. From the prophecy of the birth of John to his naming and dedication, there were many supernatural signs. His lifestyle and ministry were extraordinary.

After praising John the Baptist, Jesus said something curious and difficult to understand: "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force." (Matthew 11: 12).

What does Jesus mean? The kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force?
First, we know that the Church is the seed of the kingdom of God on earth. We know that the Church suffers lots and lots of persecutions? But how are the violent taking the kingdom of God by force? The kingdom of God is the ultimate destination of all men. Men should set their hearts, minds and energy to reach it by all means. And people who understand this urgency are seizing the kingdom of God by force.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world (kingdom of man) which is temporary and limited and misses the kingdom of God which is limitless and everlasting?

John the Baptist left us an example of how to take the kingdom of God by force: Singleness of purpose, tremendous courage, radical evangelical poverty, humility and martyrdom.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

The Feast of St Juan Diego, Apostle of Mexico.

"He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31 TLB).

Wednesday 9th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the feast of St Juan Diego. (1474 - 1548). Mexican. Hermit and visionary. Our Blessed Mother appeared to this humble and simple Indian and used him to transform the nation of the Aztecs. "Behold the humble maid servant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Your promise." God can use you and me to accomplish great things in the world. All He needs is humility and faith.

Our key Scripture for today is one of my 10 favorite Scriptures. Why? It deals with a theme that I think of every day. WAIT! If you can wait for God, you will accomplish your destiny. Good things come to those who can wait. "Wait for the Lord. Be stouthearted and wait for the Lord."

Why is waiting for the Lord so important? The most obvious reason is in God's plan and government, nothing happens until the fullness of time. (Ecclesiastes 3 :1). And when you are able to wait for that fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11). If you want to enjoy the very best from God, you must learn to wait for the Lord.

"He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40: 29 - 31 TLB).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, December 07, 2020

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).

Tuesday 8th December 2020, 2nd Week of Advent is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is the patronal feast of the United States of America.

What is the Immaculate Conception and why does it matter?  In the first Reading today from Genesis, God said to the Serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel." (Genesis 3: 15). This is the promise of our Redemption after the fall of Adam and Eve. God chose Mary before the foundation of the world and prepared her to be the sinless Mother of His Son and kept Mary sinless from the first moment of her conception. Mary said Yes to God's plan to use her body for this mission. Only a pure Vessel can hold a pure God. Why does this matter? Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. Although Mary is 100% human, it is absolute necessity that the Mother of the Redeemer be not tainted with the least sin.

Mary's generosity in giving her Yes made the Incarnation possible.
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38).

The total faith and surrender that Mary displayed here is rewarded by God's special revelation to Mary:

"For nothing will be impossible for God.” (Luke 1: 37).
Let this words nourish our faith today and always. When you are afraid, when you worry, when you are tempted to doubt God's power and promises, redouble your trust in God and remember that nothing will be impossible for God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com